Once management decides to fill a vacant position, or create a new position, the HR office is called upon to see if a position description exists. If a position description does not exist or is not accurate for the vacant position, a position description must be completed. Such a description documents the major duties, responsibilities, and organizational relationships of a job and includes, among others, the knowledge required for the position, supervisory controls, complexity and nature of the assignment, and the scope and effect of the work.
Once the job description is complete, the job is classified by matching the
duties and responsibilities to the General Schedule requirements. The
Classification Act of 1949 provides a plan for classifying positions and sets
out 15 grade levels. The law expresses these grade levels in terms of the
difficulty and level of responsibility for a specific position. OPM develops
standards that must be consistent with the principles in the Classification
Act of 1949. The classification system categorizes jobs or positions
according to the kind of work done, the level of difficulty and
responsibility, and the qualifications required for the position, and serves as
a building block to determine the pay for the position.
organizations’ jobs require a much broader array of tasks that may
cross over the narrow and rigid boundaries of job classification standards
and make it difficult to fit the job appropriately into one of the over 400
occupations. According to a recent OPM study, a key problem with
classification is that, under present rules, characteristics such as workload,
quality of work, and results are not classification factors.
federal job classification standards, which are
set forth in the Classification Act of 1949, 5 U.S.C. § 5101-5115